The Food and Enterprise Development (FED) Program for Liberia is a USAID-funded initiative that began in September 2011. Through implementing a Liberian strategy which incorporates women and youth, FED will help the government of Liberia and the country achieve food security — in terms of food availability, utilization, and accessibility — by building an indigenous incentive structure that assists a range of agricultural stakeholders to adopt commercial approaches.
This incentive structure will be built upon:
- Improved technology for productivity and profitability;
- Expanded and modernized input supply and extension systems;
- Commercial production, marketing, and processing;
- Enterprise Services; and
- Workforce Development.
FED’s activities will work with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the private sector to link communities to agricultural inputs (including improved seeds), extension services, nutritious food products, processing services, market information, transportation, credit, and appropriate education, training, and enterprise services.
Over the life of the five-year FED program, expanded market linkages will lead to substantial income and job growth and major increases in the production, processing, marketing, and nutritional utilization of rice, cassava, vegetables, and goats in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, and Margibi counties. These counties are being targeted in the context of regional development corridors that foster intra- and inter-county commerce, simultaneously improving food availability and access for all Liberians.
FED’s methodology is market-led, value chain-driven, continuously dedicated to indigenous capacity building, and specifically focused on benefiting Liberia’s women and youth. FED’s approach aims to be collaborative, catalytic, and driven by the goals and objectives of our partner clients. It will lead to increases in incomes for rural households, new employment opportunities for Liberians, increased access to food and improved household dietary diversity scores for food-insecure Liberians, and the adoption of improved inputs, farming practices, and technologies which boost agricultural productivity.
FED is implemented by seven partners including: Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI), Winrock International, International Fertilizer Developmental Center (IFDC), Samaritan’s Purse, Louisiana University, The Cadmus Group, and the Center for Development and Population Activities.
Activities are underway in Bong, Nimba, Margibi, Grand Bassa, Montserrado and Lofa counties. Activities in the counties mentioned above for this month began with the completion of planed activities for UDP, ISFM and voucher programs took place with input supply chain actors in Monrovia, Lofa, Bong, and Nimba Counties with 4 IFDC STTAs. Additionally, weekly vegetable demonstration training continues for the 1site in Montserrado County. GPS training was also conducted by the GPS unit for the extension agents to enable them to accurately measure plot sizes and way points.
In Nimba County, 175 famers at seven demonstration sites, 25 each, with 0.6 hectare of land each, have completed transplanting lowland rice. Monitoring and weeding of grass continues at each of the demonstration site.
In Lofa County, 50 farmers, 25 each at a demonstration site with 1.2 hectares of land have completed transplanting upland rice and 150 farmers, 25 each at a site with 0.6 hectare of land have completed the planting of lowland rice. Kuluka was dropped due to the challenging water control situation and was replaced by the Kormai women’s group.
In Grand Bassa County, 25 farmers with 0.6 hectare of land have started transplanting lowland rice. Gardou Town with 25 farmers has just started clearing while the other three sites with 75 farmers; 25 each have sown seeds on the nursery. By the first week in September 2012 and all remaining four sites will resume transplanting and they are expected to complete this stage by September 20, 2012.
In Bong County, one of the five sites had started transplanting of lowland rice with 25 famers working 0.6 hectare of land while the other four sites with 75 farmers; 25 each have sown seeds on the nursery. At the end of August, all of the sites will resume transplanting and are expected to be completed by the first week in September 2012.
Twenty-two lead cassava farmers participated in two-day compost training at Sangay Farm in Gbarnga, Bong County. The purpose of the training was to enhance the soil amendment and management capacity of cassava farmers. The training involved locally identifying ingredients for the compost, basics of windrow building, monitoring composting processes, and strategies for marketing and selling compost.
The harvest season for vegetables harvest for this project has started since 20th of August 2012 and for the month of August a total of L$8,715.00 was realized from the sale of vegetables and is expected to last for the four months. All crops were bought on the farm by customers that came from Sacleapea, Nimba County and Monrovia.
The Official Launching/Planning Meeting for the PPR Vaccination Campaign took place on Wednesday August 22nd. The Launching was presided over by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), National Coordinator for Trans-boundary Disease. The NGO BRAC staff, (who are executing the campaign for the MOA and funded by USAID/FED), were present as well as Samaritan’s Purse, and USDA Land O’Lakes Project personnel. The National Plan produced in the Launching/Planning Meeting will now be vetted at the county levels with each of the County Agricultural Coordinators and County Livestock Officers for comment.
During the month of August 2012, the following trainings were conducted by all three components of the project:
- Demonstration on Safe Use of Inputs, Fertilizers and Chemicals training was conducted on August 2, 2012 in Gbarnga, Bong County with a total of 150 farmers participating.
- Cassava Production Training was held in Bong County from August 6-10, 2012 with a total 25 famers from one group participating.
- Training on Rice Production was in held Monrovia for 17 farmers from August 1 – 18, 2012.
- Vegetable Production Training was also held in Monrovia for 3 farmers from August 6 – 7, 2012.
- August 2 – 3, 2012, SME Mentorship Program training was conducted in Bong County for 17 farmers from eight groups.
- Enterprise Development Plan, Promoting Gender Sensitive training was held in Grand Bassa County for 30 farmers from 14 groups.
- A four day Technical Computer Training was held for 10 farmers at Doumpa in Nimba County from August 3 – 4, 10 – 11, 2012.
FED launched a pilot phase of its internship program on July 31, 2012 at the UL Auditorium. To date, 60 interns have signed contracts with FED and have been placed around the country with public institutions, INGOS, and farm enterprises. Eighty five percent of the interns have already begun work at 17 institutions, including FED. The 60 interns were recruited and two drop and the remaining 58 interns have been placed.
Three county offices; Nimb, Lofa and Grand Bassa will be fully equip with internet service. STTAs Ces Hipos, Sr. IT/Networking Specialist and Ana-Maria Ungureanu, IT Networking Specialist arrived on the 12th of August to set up VSet at each of the county offices for better internet connectivity with Monrovia office and STTAs completed their task on August 27, 2012. The team also set up the BWI computer lab with an internet server for the agriculture students and administration as part of FED’s contractual obligations.